Anyone who signs the ban is prevented from entering the gaming floor at Iowa’s casinos. Iowa Lottery spokesperson Mary Neubauer says they sell lottery tickets at thousands of retailers across the state, so they had to take a different approach to the ban.
“Obviously we can’t ban folks from going to a convenience store or from a grocery store because they have other business that they need to be doing on in those locations,” Neubauer says. “So the way we came at the motivation to play was to have folks who sign our self-exclusiong agreement to ban themselves from lottery offices across the state.” Neubauer says keeping them out of the Iowa Lottery offices ensures they can’t chase big jackpots.
“Any lottery prize of more than 600 dollars in Iowa has to be claimed at a lottery office,” Neubauer explains, “so in the process of banning yourself from a lottery office — you are preventing yourself from ever being able to claim a big lottery prize.” It’s believed the change to allow for the five-year ban option may encourage more people who see they have a problem to sign up.
“What we’re all trying to do is give someone who is trying to deal with the issue of dealing with compulsive gambling more tools that they can use to try to make a healthy recover from the difficulty that that has caused in their life,” Neubauer says. She says the ban itself won’t help if people don’t follow through and get some help with the problem, and that’s why there also want to ensure people know how to get that help.
Neubauer says the casinos and the Iowa Lottery are working with the Iowa Department of Public Health to develop a brochure that they will give to people who sign up for the ban, to ensure they know about 1-800-BETTSOFF and the Iowa Gambling Treatment Program. Neubauer says the law allows those who think they have taken care of their problem to be removed from the banned list.
“Someone who has signed up for a self-exclusion from an Iowa casino or from the Iowa Lottery has the option if you’ve been on the self-exclusion list
for five years to request that your name comes of the list,” Neubauer says. “But that does not mean that you can just walk into a casino or walk into a lottery office and the process is done.” She says you will have to fill out the proper paperwork to get your name off the exclusion list, and then wait to get a confirmation it has been processed.
“For the first couple of months after July there may be some bumps in the road in that regard if folks aren’t paying attention to the details and aren’t taking the steps necessary to get off the exclusion list. So, we’re doing everything that we can to make it very, very clear how the process works,” according to Neubauer. You can contact the Iowa Lottery or the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to find out more about the changes to the gambling ban.